Microbiome-Metabolome Analysis of the Immune Microenvironment of the Cecal Contents, Soft Feces, and Hard Feces of Hyplus Rabbits

Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity(2022)

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The intestinal microbiota and its metabolites play vital roles in host growth, development, and immune regulation. This study analyzed the microbial community distribution and the cytokine and short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) content of cecal contents (Con group), soft feces (SF group), and hard feces (HF group) of 60-day-old Hyplus rabbits and verified the effect of soft feces on the cecal immune microenvironment by coprophagy prevention (CP). The results showed that there were significant differences in the levels of phylum and genus composition, cytokines, and SCFAs among the Con group, SF group, and HF group. The correlation analysis of cytokines and SCFAs with differential microbial communities showed that Muribaculaceae, Ruminococcaceae_UCG-014, Ruminococcaceae_NK4A214_group, and Christensenellaceae_R-7_Group are closely related to cytokines and SCFAs. After CP treatment, the contents of propionic acid, butyric acid, IL-4, and IL-10 in cecum decreased significantly, whereas TNF-α and IL-1β increased significantly. Moreover, the inhibition of coprophagy led to the downregulation of the expression levels of tight junction proteins (Claudin-1, Occludin, and ZO-1) related to intestinal inflammation and intestinal barrier function, and the ring-like structure of ZO-1 was disrupted. In conclusion, coprophagy can not only help rabbits obtain more probiotics and SCFAs but also play an essential role in improving the immune microenvironment of cecum.
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